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Enya Zia Fortuna: Slovenia to Scotland

Updated: Sep 23, 2021

We are delighted to introduce our special guest Enya Zia Fortuna.

Her artworks have been published in several magazines and news articles including, The Guardian, exhibition in Roscrea Highlights Work of Emerging Artists, The Nenagh 2015 Top Irish Graduates, Irish Arts Review Magazine Autumn Edition: Artist’s New Wave, Performance Art In IrelandA History, edited by Aine Philips and The Katalog, Ireland.

1. Could you please tell us about yourself?

I am a multidisciplinary artist, in the sense that I work with various art forms from film, photography, performance and animation. Throughout my career, I have delved into many art forms such as painting, sculpture, and installation. However, most recently I have focused my skills on film and art directing.

2. Please tell us about your hometown.

I was originally born in Slovenia and then relocated to Ireland. Having spent most of my life in Ireland, I decided to move to Scotland to continue with my education at The Glasgow School of Art. I now work and live in Scotland both as a creative and educator. I struggle to think what exactly home is for me, but my culture will always belong to Slovenia and Ireland. It has become more about the people that I surround myself with throughout my life that resonate with the perception of home.

3. Do you like to travel? What would be your dream tour?

Traveling for me is indispensable. Seeing new cultures and meeting new people allows you to have an entirely different perspective to the world. It has allowed me to network and collaborate with international artists, which in turn has shown me how one can immerse themselves diversely within the art world. I have traveled around Australia, America, North Africa and throughout Europe, but I still have many countries to explore.

This year has put a stop to this, but I am ready to continue to produce work internationally and explore new cultures. The dream is to be able to work internationally and build a network globally. I think as an educator I also encourage my students to experience and see new work from different cultures. Without travel and exploration, you limit yourself as a creative and the type of work you produce.

4. What are your achievements as an artistic director?

I think being a female working in this industry comes with its challenges and I have made it my mission to speak up about the patriarchy that is still evident today. I feel lucky to be living in a country where the female's voice is heard and encouraged. However, this is not the case in every country and patriarchy is still very real today. I think some of the key achievements for me in my life as a director have been working on topics that challenge this point of view. I need to keep fighting for the equality of both sexes, in the hopes that this will not remain an issue for the next generation. One of my biggest achievements to date has been directing my first short film ‘When Egrets Spawn.’ This was written and directed by me and filmed in Slovenia. I won various awards for this film such as the Best Moving Image Award, Best Student of the Year Award, ArtFest Award, and a few others. As well as being published in Irish Arts Review Magazine as ‘One of the Top Emerging Irish Artists’, The Guardian ‘Roscrea Highlights Work of Emerging Artists’ and The Nenagh ‘Top Irish Graduates.’ I have also been lucky enough to be a part of Aine Philips book Performance Art In Ireland: A History.

But the biggest achievement for me was creating something I was proud of and using my voice as a director to speak about topics that matter. I learned something invaluable that year, that no matter what position you are in at that moment, you can achieve anything with persistence and the support of the people that help you along the way. My film was shown throughout Ireland and I had a few more shows before relocating to Scotland. During my masters at The Glasgow School of Art, I had the opportunity to build a deeper international network, perform and show work at The Marco Tesstacio Museum of Contemporary Art Rome, where I was shortlisted for The Young Talent Awards. My work was shown and performed throughout Scotland in various places such as The Glasgow School of Art, The Royal Conservatoire, House for an Art Lover, The Scottish Museum of Modern Art and The Centre for Contemporary Arts.

One of my key influences throughout my career has been the wonderful Amanda Coogan, one of the most renowned visual artists in Ireland. I studied her work for my thesis and after having the opportunity to work with her, I performed my longest durational performance to date, for her opening show ‘I’ll sing you a song from around the Town’ at The Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin. That was the moment when my career truly began and everything that I worked extremely hard for had become worth it. There are still many avenues I want to explore, as well as being able to continue to shift my work purposefully. One undeniable thing is that I want my work to make a difference and give a voice to critical issues.